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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

  • A Coup in Cairo: As Muslim Brotherhood Claims Election Victory, Military Strips President of Power

    Sharif

    Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports from Egypt on the country’s growing political crisis. Former President Hosni Mubarak is on life support, both candidates claim to have won last weekend’s election, and the ruling military council has seized greater power. Official presidential election results are not expected to be announced until Thursday. Tens of thousands of Egyptians protested Tuesday night in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in a rally called by the Muslim Brotherhood, expressing outrage over the army’s decree late Sunday that it would seize all legislative powers. "Right now the country has no constitution, no parliament, and an incoming president that will have scant power," Kouddous says. "So, really, the military council is controlling the key branches of state. ... [It’s] perhaps a fitting end to this nonsensical transition that we’ve seen over the last 16 months." [includes rush transcript]

  • Julian Assange of WikiLeaks Seeks Asylum in Ecuador in Attempt to Avoid Extradition to U.S.

    Assange

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London and asked for asylum. Assange made the move Tuesday in a last-ditch bid to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime accusations. Earlier today, police in London announced Assange is now subject to arrest because his decision to spend the night at the Ecuadorian embassy violated the conditions of his bail. Assange is seeking asylum because he fears extradition to Sweden may lead to his transfer to the United States, where he could potentially face charges relating to WikiLeaks. "In my view, it is a situation of political persecution of Julian Assange for his political activities," says Michael Ratner, a member of Assange’s legal team. "It does fit within the asylum application procedure under the Declaration of Human Rights." In an apparent reference to the United States, an Ecuadorian official said Assange fears being extradited "to a country where espionage and treason are punished with the death penalty." [includes rush transcript]

  • Failed Pledges, Weak Draft Lower Hopes for Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil

    Rio20

    Leaders from more than 100 countries are meeting today in Brazil for the start of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the largest United Nations conference ever. The conference comes 20 years after the U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro pledged to protect the planet by endorsing treaties on biodiversity and climate change. Little has been done in the intervening years to reach development goals in areas like food security, water, global warming and energy. Although negotiators have already agreed on a draft document to be approved by world leaders, many groups working on environmental and poverty issues have criticized the draft agreement, saying it is far too weak. We go to Rio to speak with Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace. [includes rush transcript]